New York City votes to cap Uber, Lyft vehicle licenses

New York City votes to cap Uber, Lyft vehicle licenses

The New York City Council on Wednesday passed a cap on Uber, Lyft and other for-hire vehicles in the city along with a minimum wage for drivers, becoming the first city in the nation to impose such sweeping measures to offset the growth of the ride-hailing industry.

The city council also approved proposals to set minimum pay levels for all drivers and minimum fares, which are now regulated for traditional cabs but not their multitudes of new competitors.

The legislation institutes a one-year freeze on new licenses for Uber, Lyft, and other ride-hailing apps - meaning no new drivers can be hired, regardless of demand - starting 120 days after the bill becomes law.

App-based ride services account for 80,000 vehicles in New York City, and provide 17 million rides per month, according to a study by The New School for the TLC.

Michael Jools from the Australian Taxi Drivers Association said the stricter controls would help to alleviate congestion. Uber said the Council's legislation would make rides more expensive and less reliable. "We will never stop working to ensure New Yorkers have access to reliable and affordable transportation in every borough". It also establishes a minimum wage for drivers, who had previously been exempt from the state's higher than average hourly compensation requirements.

Lawmakers who backed the measure cited congestion in the city and hoped that it would stop the decline in compensation for drivers, according to WABC in NY.

Around 80,000 drivers work for at least one of the big four app-based companies in NY, compared to 13,500 yellow cab drivers, it found.

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The bill will impact popular app-based services like Uber and Lyft, who have both spoken out against it.

But that growth has brought New York's iconic yellow cabs to their knees and since December, six yellow-cab drivers have committed suicide.

"Our city is directly confronting a crisis that is driving working New Yorkers into poverty and our streets into gridlock", the mayor said in a tweet.

"Max" from RideShare Drivers United has also welcomed the move in NY.

The relative lack of resistance-Uber and Lyft have spent a fraction of the amount on lobbying this year as they did three years ago and have not run attack ads on politicians who have received money from yellow-cab medallion holders-may owe to the council's decision to package the cap with other bills that the firms support.

'Uber as you know it is going to be Uber as you know it, ' Cumbo said.

Uber spokesman Josh Gold said in an interview Wednesday that the company will shift its strategy from opposing efforts to freeze the number of vehicles, to gobbling up the outstanding for-hire vehicle licenses available under the new cap.

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